The exciting news from Fenbrook this month is the arrival of Touché NFC Ltd, a joint venture between Fenbrook Consulting Ltd and Near Field Solutions Ltd (NFS). I have been working on projects with the Glenn Needham, Managing Director of NFS for three years, and we felt that the rate of progress in the NFC world is such that it makes sense to form a vehicle to serve this emerging market. Glenn, like me, formerly worked at Innovision Research & Technology plc (now part of Broadcom); Innovision was a pioneer in NFC handset technology, working with handset manufacturers as long ago as 2002, even before the NFC name had been coined.
Our plans for Touché are that the new company should offer a range of NFC services, including for:
- Location Based Marketing
- NFC support for Transport Operators
- NFC Business and Technical Consultancy
Here’s some more information about each of these:
Location Based Marketing
NFC handsets are finally entering the market in significant numbers. According to NFC World in November 2012, there were 84 handsets on the market offering an NFC capability. Not all of these are available in all countries, but the number is a spectacular increase on a year ago. In the UK, we are seeing substantial numbers, especially from Samsung and Blackberry. However, one problem is that users don’t necessarily know the new handset they have has an NFC capability, because the opportunities to use it are so few. Thus, the barrier to NFC use is moving from handset availability to customer education.
Touché is offering a platform for players wanting to enter the world of Location Based Marketing (LBM) using NFC. (I’m not going to go into detail about LBM here – see a previous Fenbrook blog post for details of what it can do and what it involves.) The LBM platform is based on a Content Management System (CMS), which is the back office system that knows which tags have been assigned to which clients, so that when a user taps a tag, the CMS can point that user to the landing page of the client’s website. The advantage of doing this is that the smart poster (or beermat, or anything else you can stick a tag to…) can remain where it is, and if the client wants to change the details of their services, or make special offers, or make the information time or day dependent, all this can be done by the CMS without having to revisit the poster.
The CMS will also produce reports, showing clients which posters were tapped, at what time of day, on what days, and how many times. Using this information, it will be possible to develop slick campaigns that optimise where posters are located. I believe this interactivity will revolutionise advertising. Current poster ads “shout” at the public – they have no way of knowing how many people have seen them, who they are, and whether they have any interest in what’s being advertised. But with LBM based on NFC smartphones, the fact that a user taps a poster indicates a level of interest already – then it’s up to the client to sell.
Touché intends to offer this support at two levels:
- Independent retailers, cafés, night clubs, bars – wishing to draw more customers to their locations in a very targeted and cost effective manner, and
- “Tech savvy” marketing agencies wanting to offer their major clients another innovative tool for their toolbox, to create excitement and set the client apart from its competitors.
NFC support for Transport Operators
This was the subject of a detailed Fenbrook blog in April. In brief, Touché will offer to help Transport Operators wishing to implement NFC smart ticketing, but which need support to navigate the minefield of handsets, Mobile Network Operators, Secure Elements, and customer education and use cases. Touché has experience and learning to offer in all these areas, to bring NFC convenience to the travelling public and NFC led profitability to Transport Operators.
NFC Business and Technical Consultancy
Touché’s partners have extensive business and technical consultancy in bringing NFC to market, from the reaction of end users, to the development of international standards. We are ready to support organisations wanting to climb up the learning curve.
You can call us or contact us through the Touché website if you want to discuss any of this further: www.touche-nfc.com, or use the Contact Form from this website.
Fenbrook Consulting advises businesses about the commercial opportunities and technical requirements of Near Field Communications and Smart Ticketing